Top 10 Best Hunting Flashlights (Jan. 2020) : Review & Buyer’s Guide
- Robert Stevens
Hunting is among the few sports in the world which you’ll engage in the day or night depending on your target. While many prefer hunting in the early morning hours, others believe nighttime is better. As a hunter, you already know the essence of having a reliable light source when you’re in the dark.
While many things might influence your choice of hunting equipment, a flashlight is unnegotiable. So, if you’re a fresh hunter or looking for a dependable flashlight to buy, search no more because we’ve got what you need.
What You Will Get Here
- Why You Might Need a Flashlight?
- How Did We Pick These Products?
- Things to Consider while Buying Hunting Flashlights
- Our Top 10 Product List
- Editor’s Choice: Streamlight 88066 ProTac Flashlight
- Runner Up: Streamlight 69266 TLR-1-HL
- Brightest Choice: Streamlight 69265 TLR-2
- Budget Hunting Flashlights
- A List of Other Products We Tested
- Care and Maintenance Tips
Why You Might Need a Flashlight?
Gone are the days where hunters will rely only on their instincts when aiming at an animal in the night. A hunting flashlight has become a very important tool as it lights up your territory and also blinds the target making it easier to kill. It’s one of the best tools to have when embarking on a night hunting trip as it’ll serve as your second eye. Although some people prefer hunting headlamps over flashlights as an alternative.
Also, some of these flashlights are compact and light enough to be carried with ease. Besides, it helps you to see the prey clearly for you to make a precise aim. You can mount them on your forehead or on the gun making your hands free to focus on getting a good hit. In addition to hunting, they are suitable for emergencies, camping, walking, and much more.
How Did We Pick These Products?
We spent 40 hours on the web to list out the most popular hunting flashlights on the market. After checking various consumer ratings and reviews, we could list 30 of the most outstanding models. Since we’re looking for the top 10 available, we bought and tested these products ourselves.
To authenticate our work, we had to engage some volunteers to test these products themselves and come up with their reports. The qualities we’re looking for in the products include lumen output, battery, and bulb type. Others include efficiency, size, weight, material, beam type, etc.
We compared how each fared over another and then ranked them accordingly. Based on our test results and the report from the volunteers we could figure out the products with the most essential features. Then, we consulted with expert hunters for their opinion and recommendations on the models we’ve listed. Besides, we had to revisit various online stores like Amazon, eBay, etc. to check if the opinion of the users is the same with our findings.
After collating and analyzing our data, we could list out our top 10 hunting flashlights along with their reviews.
Things to Consider while Buying Hunting Flashlights
If you intend to succeed in your hunting adventure, having such a device is indeed a priority. Yet, there are key factors to keep in mind when buying since these products are different in many aspects and knowing the features you want will help you to choose wisely.
1. Material and Durability
Flashlights are mostly made from aluminum alloys or plastics. The ones with a stainless steel head have better impact resistance. Yet, each aluminum flashlight has their thicknesses which impact on their durability and weight. Of course, the thicker ones will be heavier and tougher than the thinner.
2. Bulb Type
The brightest models usually feature LED bulbs. Other bulb types like krypton or incandescent are no longer popular. This is because led bub types have better brightness, runtime, efficiency, and shock resistance.
3. Beam Type and Distance
The reflector around the lens will determine its beam type and beam quality. Depending on your choice, you’ll get either flood, adjustable, or focused beam types.
The flood or fixed type has single-width beam and suitable for all applications including walking and camping. Adjustable beam-type allows the hunter to vary between focused and floodlighting to serve in the situation. The focused or spot type features a condensed single beam for better coverage making it ideal for route-finding and speed-activities.
The beam distance gives how far your eye can see through the light. It’s measured in meters and is comparable to the moon’s light. The distance may vary depending on the lighting mode.
4. Lumen Output
Your flashlight should be bright enough for your needs. The maximum brightness level of the flashlight is given by its lumen. A quick check on the specs will help you to know its output which is often between 20 to 3500 lumens. It’s important to read the reviews from other users to get a clue of the model’s brightness since the rating might be misleading.
Most flashlights have single lighting modes and others have more including low, medium and high. Some models feature strobes and SOS lights which is very important when signaling for help. You’ll likely find your comfortable mode but the higher the lumen the lower your runtime. Again, the technologically advanced models have USB ports for customizing your lighting sequence via the computer.
The cycle of the battery after each complete charge is given by its runtime which is measured in hours. It measures how fast the battery output would drop to10% of its maximum rating. This is very important as it determines the performance of the flashlight and determines how soon you’ll need to replace or recharge the battery. So, if you intend to hunt all night, it’s better to buy a model with a good runtime rating.
7. Battery Type
Another important thing to consider when buying a hunting flashlight is the type of battery which includes rechargeable, disposable, and renewable.
- Rechargeable – This type comes with a Li-ion battery which is often recharged via a USB port connected to a computer, solar panel, and other AC or DC power outlets. They have a high initial cost but this won’t be a deal-breaker since you won’t have to buy it repeatedly like the disposables.
- Disposable – The available options include AA, AAA, and CR123A types. The CR123A is the most expensive with a high voltage but are also scarce. Models like the baton-sized are powered by D batteries for higher brightness and longer life.
- Renewable – These are built-in flashlight batteries which you’ll charge via a cranking turbine from solar or wind and commonly used in emergency lightings.
8. Impact Resistance
The manufacturer will drop the product at least six times on a concrete floor to test its impact resistance which is also given in distance. This rating will help you to know if the unit will still function after an accidental fall. However, it doesn’t mean the flashlight will withstand a truck run-over or when it’s hit by a very heavy object.
9. Water Resistance
In addition to its durability and impact resistance, the water resistance feature is the next thing to look out for. This is very essential since you might not help but use it in the rain or it might drop in the water. An IPX4 rating on the flashlight indicates its ability to withstand water splashes and raindrops. Flashlights with IPX7 specifies it can still function after a 30-minutes immersion in water while an IPX8 rating implies it’s can function in water for about 4 hours.
The introduction of LED bulbs and diverse lighting modes has enhanced the versatility of hunting flashlights. Those with SOS and strobe features always come handy during an emergency. Besides hunting, you can use it for reading, security, fishing, and much more.
11. Blood Tracking
These devices are often equipped with powerful LEDs with specialized filters for making blood to glow for easy tracking of the game.
12. Size and Weight
You may wish to buy a large and heavy flashlight because of the advantage of better battery runtime since they often have battery capacity. However, heavier flashlights look clumsy making you tired before time which is why many hunters prefer lighter and compact ones.
Our Top 10 Product List
Here, we have simplified your ability to choose by categorizing our top picks by performance and budget.
When it comes to performance and durability, the Streamlight 88066 ProTac Flashlight is the model to buy. It features a C4 LED bulb generating a maximum brightness of 1000 lumens for up to 50,000 hours. It’d underwent a live-fire test and found to hold up against shock and vibration on most firearms.
It can run on both CR123A and rechargeable Li-Ion batteries with three user-selectable modes of strobes, high, and low. Strobe is essential in distress calls and runs for at least 2.5 hours on either CR123A or Li-Ion batteries. The high mode produces a maximum illumination of 1000 lumen with a beam distance of 332m for the perfect night view. Also, you can enjoy 22 hours’ runtime when using the low light mode producing 60 lumens and beam distance of 80m.
Still, it’s equipped with a chip that regulates the light output providing uniform brightness and beam throughout the battery life. What’s more, it has a machined aircraft aluminum construction with shock-resistant tempered glass lens making it durable and useable in diverse conditions. Again, it can function under a temperature range of -40°F to +120°F. It has both IPX7 and IPX4 ratings which imply its ability to withstand water splashes and 30 minutes’ immersion in water.
This model features a tool-less rail clamp which allows you to easily attach or detach on handguns and rifles. It uses a standard push button and a remote switch for both momentary and constant operation. Again, it’s compliant with the European Community and RoHS directives.
This is great for persons who intend to enjoy a high-quality beam for night hunting. It accommodates both CR123A and Li-Ion batteries with a maximum runtime of 25 hours and a C4 LED of 50,000 hours’ lifetime. It’s compact, easy to mount and unmount on guns with switches by the sides for easy operation. It can function for 30 minutes in the water and gives the same output irrespective of the battery life.
The Streamlight 69266 TLR-1-HL gives 800 lumens of light to meet your regular illumination needs. It provides a wide beam pattern for easy identification of objects in the environment. It weighs 4.18 ounces and can operate between -40°F to +120°F with a solid-state current regulation for consistent illumination across the battery levels.
It features an aluminum sealed construction with an anodized finish to prevent rust and corrosion. It has an IPX7 rating making it proof to water immersion and minor splashes. Also, it comes with the latest shock-proof C4 LED technology with 50000 hours of lighting and a Boro Float glass lens for the perfect illumination.
This compact flashlight uses two 3V CR123 lithium batteries running for 1.75 hours at 800 lumens and the battery can last for 10 years. It comes with a rail grabber which mounts quickly on handguns with Picatinny and Glock style rails. Also, you can switch to strobe mode for signaling by double tapping the push button in quick succession.
Another feature you’ll like in this model is its tethered battery door with a latch mechanism to prevent battery door loss.
This top-rated flashlight is well built and sturdy with a muted gold color to enhance its looks. It has an aluminum housing an anodized finish to enhance its durability.
The strobe function is activated by operating the switch in rapid succession and a technologically advanced C4 LED produces 800 lumens glowing to a distance of 245m. It can be mounted on different gun types and features and suitable for both emergency and hunting conditions.
The Streamlight 69256 TLR-2 features an 800 lumen LED bulb producing powerful blinding light for searching the woods, clearing rooms, and easy identification of persons.
As a light and laser combo, it features a green laser for high-visibility and long range targeting. It comes with a two 3V CR123 Li-Ion batteries that last for 1.75 hours on light mode and 17 hours on laser only mode. Still, it operates on four modes which are: LED/laser, LED only, laser, and a user-programmable strobe mode.
It has a durable, anodized aluminum construction with a black finish and an impact/chemical resistant housing. The engineered reflector creates an intense beam that makes you see clearly in the dark even to a distance of 245 meters. This model features windage and elevation screws for better target acquisition and zeroing, thanks to its brass bushing base.
Interestingly, it has a single hand snap-on and screw interface that allows you to attach and detach without touching the muzzle. It comes with rail-locking keys for easy mounting on Glock and Picatinny style rails.
This is an amazing flashlight with a combination of intense brightness LED and laser. The green laser is useful for sighting objects in both day and night hunting. It’s excellent on zeroing and provides accurate image despite repeated mounting and unmounting.
It has a wide operating temperature range with a live-fire impact resistance construction. The fast and easy rail clamp makes it suitable for use in a variety of weapons.
Budget Hunting Flashlights
Here are the most affordable yet high-performing hunting flashlights available on sale.
This powerful and mid-size flashlight is the perfect gift for hunting and other applications. It features a tough aluminum body making it fit for extreme indoors and outdoors conditions. It’s a reliable unit for use during earthquake, storms, power outages, floods, and other forms of emergency.
It features an LED bulb which is 12 times brighter than incandescent generating a beam that effortlessly illuminates the surrounding. It uses 3 AAs battery and is also compatible with 18650 and 26650 rechargeable batteries. It consumes less power allowing you to enjoy longer usage and comes in a compact size that fits well in range bags.
Another exciting feature in this model is its ability to zoom in or out on objects covering a longer distance. Also, it comes with 5 mode settings that remove the need to buy many flashlights; thus, enhancing its versatility.
This model is made of aluminum which is light and can survive a fall from a 10-foot height. Besides, it can withstand raindrops and snow. Yet, it can survive in the water for a few minutes. Its durability and weight offers a feel of security and confidence when held in the hand. Again, it comes with a tail switch allowing you to handle and operate with one hand.
However, this model is made for use with hand only so, if you want a flashlight to mount on guns, you’d look elsewhere.
This is a great choice in terms of affordability and performance. It’s rugged, weighty, reliable, and durable. One of its greatest assets is the multiple settings that allow you to use it in diverse situations. It can zoom in and out making it easy to aim at both distant and near objects. The LED is very powerful and functions with both disposable and rechargeable batteries.
So, if you want a cheap flashlight with cutting-edge features, this is the product to buy.
The J5 Tactical V1-Pro Flashlight is the product to buy when searching for the best value LED light. The beam can light up an area of about two football fields or approximately 600 feet. It produces maximum lighting of 300 lumens with strong brightness even though it’s using a single AA battery.
It’s made of aircraft aluminum weighing 1.6 ounces with threaded finish giving it toughness and slip-free grip. What’s more, this compact flashlight can withstand a 10-foot fall and a few splashes of water.
This device comes with 3 useful settings featuring high, low, and strobe with an adjustable beam for use in dog walk or fishing. It measures 3.7 x 1.02 x 1.02 inches making it fit in pockets, purse, or backpack. You’ll appreciate its 1-year warranty with a user-friendly support team to settle your issues on time.
This is a reliable flashlight with a sturdy and compact design making it easy to handle. It generates 300 lumens with a single AA battery that lasts for a few days on occasional use. The body is threaded to ensure that you enjoy a good grip anytime. So, if you’re looking for a great light with a low initial cost, this model is for you.
The Maglite full-sized flashlight is popular among hunters because of its quality, durability, and reliability. This unit is built on high-tech engineering designs which are common in with all Maglite flashlights.
It has an aluminum body making it lightweight and reliable; with an anodized finish to improve its resistance against corrosion. It’s sealed to prevent dust and water from reaching the components inside. The diamond knurl design gives it a secure grip so you can focus the beam without wavering.
You can project the beam by simply rotating the head making it suitable for hunting, camping, fishing, and climbing. This model is built to last a lifetime; thanks to its advanced Mag-LED technology. It uses a high-performance 3-cell D battery which can last for two years before the need to replace. Again, being built in the USA, you have more confidence as it’s made following top-quality production standards and regulations.
This model is one of the most favorite among rescue officers, military and other law enforcement agencies in emergency situations. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty which means you’ll get a replacement if it fails while on normal daily use.
The Maglite LED is durable and meets general purpose applications. It features a sealed and anodized aluminum construction making it impervious to water, dust, and shock. It’s powered by a 3-cell D battery with the ability to create a maximum brightness of 168 lumens for 80 hours. It’s manufactured in the USA with strict adherence to industry practices and regulations.
The Anker Super Bright Tactical Flashlight boasts of a 900 lumen Cree LED that sweeps over a length 1000 feet so you can always discover what lies ahead. This is very important when hunting at night because it gives you confidence when spotting the prey.
This hunting flashlight is shipped with 3350mAh rechargeable battery, a micro USB cable and an optional 1A adapter as chargers. It’s equipped with an over-charge prevention circuit that helps to prevent heat and, in turn, prolong the battery’s life. It has an IP65 rating meaning it can function in the rain.
It features 5 adaptable settings of high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS. Also, the LED can run for 50,000 hours with a smart circuit that ensures consistent lighting always. Still, it features a hard-anodized aluminum body which is resistant to scratches and chipping. It has a pocket-friendly design with threads on the chassis to enhance its looks and handgrip.
This top model is designed to offer reliable lighting in the dark. It comes with a 900 lumen LED with 5 adjustable settings to suit diverse needs. It features a heat resistant aluminum reflector that sweeps the bright light for a distance of 1000 feet. It’s rechargeable and lasts for 6 hours on high mode. It’s sealed making it useful in heavy rain.
The Streamlight 6940 TLR-7 carries an IPX7 rating and operates between -40°F to 140°F making it ideal for use in all outdoor conditions. So, you can use it sunny, rainy or foggy weather.
It has a save off feature that prevents accidental activation which may consume the battery. It’s compatible with different handguns using a rail clamp system that securely attaches and detaches without the need for tools. It has a durable aluminum construction that is light and resistant to weather, impact, and water.
Another important advantage of this device is the 500 lumen C4 LED that spreads a beam of 131m with a customized optic for regulated illumination. It comes with two switches which are positioned for the comfort of both right and left-hand users. You can make use of the quick press for constant operation or long-press for strobe mode.
This is a superior light for use in different rifles and handguns. It gives a fantastic light output with the option to remove the battery without unmounting. It’s lightweight, durable, and suitable for consistent use. It’s easy to operate by both left and right-hand users.
The Olight PL-MINI 2 ValKyrie flashlight features an AL6061-T6 aluminum alloy body which is resistant to shock, water, and rust. Also, it delivers an output of 600 lumens with 100 meters beam distance which is the same as seeing the whole area of a single football field.
Powered by a built-in polymer battery, this night hunting flashlight is charged via a magnetic charging contact found at the bottom. So, you wouldn’t need to remove the battery or plug in a cord before charging. The switches are properly positioned for convenient operation.
It’s equipped with a quick attach/detach mounting system which is compatible with Glock and Picatinny rails. With this, you can complete its installation or release within a second. Still, the rail attachment is adjustable so, you can slide it along your pistol’s length to get your best position.
It has an impact resistance of 1 meter and a waterproof rating of IPX6 making it ideal for use in the most difficult condition. It’s compact and light, weighing 2.56 ounces with measurement 2.1 x 1.3 x 1.3 inches making it the perfect choice for concealed carry. However, you might want to replace the already installed Glock rail adapter with a Picatinny rail to suit your firearm.
This is a well-built flashlight which you’ll never regret buying. It comes with the right spacers for standard Glock and Picatinny rails. It features user-friendly switches on both sides. You’ll operate the switches by moving it upward or downward to eliminate incidences of accidental triggering. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery with a contact charging option for easy usage.
The Surfire X300 is an excellent mounting flashlight that you can try. Its high-performance LED produces 600 lumens with the specialized green/yellow spectrum which is ideal for human vision. Besides, it features a precision TIR lens creating a smooth and regular beam for peripheral lighting.
It’s IPX7 rated which indicate its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. You can activate it using either the right or left hand by pressing the switch located at the rear. For momentary on, press the switch on either side while flipping up or down to get a constant ON.
This model can attach to pistols or long firearms using its customized locking mechanism which is compatible with universal or Picatinny rails. It’s made from strong aluminum which is anodized to prevent rust or corrosion.
This model comes with a disposable CR123A battery but the rechargeable battery and adapter are sold differently. It’s very efficient when blood trailing a fleeing deer since the blood glows under the light while the battery will last long enough for the task.
This model is reliable, sturdy, and durable. Its special off-white LED generates 600 lumens via a green/yellow spectrum for safer and hitch-free vision. The beam is powerful enough to identify long distant prey while impairing their vision temporarily.
It features a new T-slot mounting system that fits most handguns and rifles with Picatinny or Glock rails. The body is made from high-grade aluminum which is light yet strong enough to withstand shocks and vibration.
A List of Other Products We Tested
- 01J5 Tactical V1-Pro Original 300 Lumen Ultra Bright, LED 3 Flashlight
- 02Streamlight 69220 TLR-3 Weapon Mounted Tactical Light
- 03Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL Weapon Mount 800 Lumens Tactical Flashlight
- 04Streamlight 69270 TLR-6 Tactical Pistol Mount 100 Lumen Flashlight s
- 05Evolva Future Technology T20 IR Infrared Night Vision Flashlight
- 06Anker 1300 Lumens Bolder LC130 LED IP67 Water-Resistant Tactical Flashlight
- 07Orion H40-W 500 Lumen LED Tactical Flashlight with Pressure Switch
- 08Streamlight 69290 TLR-6 100 Lumen Tactical Pistol Mount Flashlight with Red Laser
- 09SureFire Sidekick Ultra-Compact Triple-Output Keychain Light
- 10Streamlight 69272 TLR-6 100 Lumen Tactical Pistol Mount Flashlight
- 11Odepro KL52Plus Zoomable Hunting Flashlight with IR850 LED Light
- 12Streamlight TLR-8 Gun Light with Laser
- 13SureFire G2X Series LED Flashlights with Lumen Upgrade and Tough Nitrolon Body
- 14Olight PL-MINI 2 Valkyrie 600 Lumens Cree XP-L HD CW LED Modular Weaponlight
Care and Maintenance Tips
You need to develop the skills of caring for your new flashlight to ensure you’ll enjoy its complete useful life. In each case, you’ll clean, replace, and lubricate it on a regular basis to keep it in good condition for long.
Wipe off dirt on the outside using a pad and alcohol. If your flashlight has threads, you can remove the dirt with a soft toothbrush. It’s important to clean the lens to clear dirt which could impair the brightness. After you’d successfully cleaned the outside, next is to take out the parts to clean the inside.
Open the battery compartment, unmount it, and wipe off all visible dirt. Look at the springs to see if it’s in good condition and then clean in between the curls using an alcohol pad or Q-tip. After removing the dirt, wipe the threads to clear any leftover grease.
One of the most fragile parts of your flashlight is the O-ring which helps to prevent water from reaching the inside. To enjoy a water-resistant device, the O-ring must be in good condition. If the O-ring is worn out, then you’ll need to replace it with the same type.
Your flashlight ought to be free from rust to keep it functioning as it should. You might apply the manufacturer’s recommended lube on the body and other parts including the O-ring, springs, threads, and battery contacts.
Hunting flashlights produce the right brightness and beam which often blinds the prey and keep you at an advantageous position. You might take a quick check on the Streamlight 88066 ProTac Flashlight which is our choicest model. It delivers powerful light of 1000 lumen and a beam distance of 141 meters. Also, it’s powered by both CR123A and 18650 Li-Ion batteries.
Our budget choice goes to the GearLight High-Powered LED Flashlight S1200. It’s super bright, sturdy, and strong. It’s multiple lighting modes eliminates the need to buy an additional flashlight. It’s lightweight, compact and portable making it ideal to fit in your backpack or survival bag.
Finally, your preference will determine the perfect model to buy. It’s important to list out your expectations and then go for the right product.